Fried Green Tomatoes
In the summer of 1972, my father worked a week in upstate New York – possibly Syracuse, I cannot remember for sure. Toward the end of the week mom and a couple of us kids joined him there with the car. The manager of the local Greyhound terminal needed to go to Cleveland, so dad offered him a lift as far as our house – about 30 miles east of Cleveland.
Cars did not have fancy entertainment options in those days. And no one had their eyes glued to a phone. The adults talked. The kids listened.
Somewhere around Erie, Pennsylvania, the topic of favourite foods came up. Dad mentioned fried green tomatoes as one of his favourites. Our passenger had never heard of frying tomatoes, but he was interested. Dad exited the Interstate early and drove on U.S. 20. He found George Frost’s farmer’s market and bought a basket of green tomatoes.
The process is simple. You slice the tomatoes thin (it takes a good sharp knife). You coat the slices with a bit of flour or corn meal. You fry them in a nice hot skillet, using bacon grease if possible.
I know that we ate a lot of tomatoes when I was a kid. But somehow, that is the only specific occasion that I remember. Fifty years ago, I ate tomatoes and I remember them. I have eaten tomatoes in various forms thousands of times since. But those are the tomatoes that stand out in my mind.
What made them so memorable was the joy of initiating someone into the experience of eating fried tomatoes. Dad rarely cooked. When he did it was one of his favorite dishes or something he was especially good at. Those fried tomatoes were good. But what made the meal memorable was sharing the joy that terminal manager found in experiencing fried tomatoes for the first time.
If you have something that is special to you, try sharing it with someone who has not had your joyous experience. Doing so is likely to make it extra special.
I read something about that somewhere. Maybe it was this.
“As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled” (Mark 5:18-20, ESV).
Of course, that terminal manager might have refused to try the tomatoes. That would have been his loss, not ours.
Tell people about your favourite foods if you will. Definitely tell them about our Saviour. And invite them in for a full meal.
“Thayer Salisbury is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University (B.A.), Abilene Christian University (M.A.) and Concordia Theological Seminary (Ph.D.). Thayer has served churches in Ohio, Kansas, and Indiana. He has served on the staff of Bible colleges in Nigeria, Swaziland (Eswatini), and Canada. He has also been a guest lecturer at schools in Ghana and Zambia. He and his wife, Chery, have four sons and eight grandchildren. They currently reside in Eswatini, where they devote their time to developing better textbooks for African Bible Colleges and assisting in the work of the local churches.”